Set the tone: shaking off lockdown inertia and flubber
With our Lockdown cholesterol fest under our belts (literally), the beckoning summer calls for quick, effective and inexpensive ways to shape up fast. You know the detox drill (more water and veg; less of everything else), but try allocating a few minutes in your week to the following exercises, add in some running too, and watch your svelter, stronger self emerge from that winter chrysalis.
- Burpees: An unpleasant name for an unpleasant exercise. But it sure gets the job done. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out, squat, and place your hands on the floor. Then kick back your legs so you are in plank position, do a push-up, jump your legs back in again, and jump up as high as you can from the squat position. Start with 5 sets of 10 burpees twice a week, and you’ll soon begin feeling – and seeing – the difference.
- Plyometric squats: Seeing a pattern here? There’s nothing like squats for getting those glutes out of their comfort zone. If you want to look like Beyonce from behind (or Beckham, for that matter), try these enhanced squats, which start as low as you can go and then leap up explosively as high as your legs can propel you. You’ll be panting for breath after 6-8 sets of 12-15 squat-jumps. Note to self: avoid stairs the next day.
- Push-ups: You could invest in a TRX or kettle-bells or whatever else is trendy, but for upper body strength and tone all you really need is a body-sized space on your floor where you can drop and do these bootcamp basics. Start with 3 sets of 12 and build from there. Sir yes sir!
- Tricep dips: There’s a reason why the Queen and Paris Hilton and other women in the public eye wave in such a muted manner. Enthusiastic, full-armed waving sets those dangly triceps swinging. To tighten them up, sit on the very edge of a chair, put your hands on either side of the seat, legs stretched straight out ahead of you, and lower and raise your body in front of the chair (keeping elbows close) until your arms ache. Bye-bye bingo wings!
- Urdhva Prasarita Padasana: Having started with Burpees, let’s end on a classier note. Lie flat on the floor, and raise both legs straight into the air, making a 90-degree angle. Hold them there, with toes flexed, for one full minute (setting your abs aquiver) before slowly lowering your heels to the floor, and then lifting them again, for 3 sets of 10 lifts. Make sure your lower back is in contact with the floor throughout the range of motion, and don’t tense the stomach. This exercise works both lower and upper abs for the complete six-pack effect.
For further guidance on how to do these exercises, look on You Tube. NB: If you have any health issues, consult a doctor before starting any exercise routine.